It was easier to just give in to him than start an argument. I never won those with Dean. He would just make the rest of my night miserable until he forced me to screw him, calling it makeup sex.
Retreating to the kitchen, I cracked some eggs into a bowl and whisked them around. I’d make cheese omelets and frozen waffles. Breakfast for dinner. Done.
“What’s taking so long?” Dean yelled from the living room.
“Just putting some finishing touches on it!” I doused the eggs with extra pepper, twisting the peppermill in an exaggerated way.
Dean watched the television from the kitchen table while we ate. There was never any dinner conversation with Dean. After our meal, I was washing dishes when my cell phone rang.
It was Mama.
“It’s my mother. I need to take it,” I said, taking the phone to the bedroom and closing the door.
“Evangeline, you need to come back.”
“Daddy is really angry at me. He wanted to know how you found out about Elle. I told him I only recently discovered your whereabouts. He’s irate with me for keeping it from him. It’s too much stress on him right now, but he wants to talk to you. Emily needs you, too.”
“I can’t go back, Mama.”
“You told Emily you were living in Wichita. You’re her only sister left. It’s time. It’s time to face everything. You can’t keep pretending that we don’t exist, not now that everyone knows where you are.”
“Dean is not going to give me the car to go back right now.”
“We’ll come get you. Besides, what kind of a man would keep his wife from her family at a time like this?”
The possessive crazy kind that I married, who does nothing but smoke weed all day and has no regard for anyone but himself.
“I’ll tell him that I’m going next week. If he won’t give me the car, then you might have to come get me.”
“Okay. I’m going to hold you to that.”
“Is Sevin okay?”
There was a long pause. “He’s in a very bad way.”
One week later, the meeting with Daddy went smoother than I thought. I’d half expected him to take me over his knee with a belt. Instead, he just took me in his arms and cried. I guess losing a child makes you much more forgiving towards the children you have left.
After he eventually got his anger out, he made me tell him where I’d been all this time. So, I gave him a story that was half-full of lies, telling him that Dean was the reason I ran away. The true parts were that I’d worked as a waitress and that Dean and I got married.
“Evangeline, if this were a few years back, I might not have let you back in this house. You’re a grown woman now, responsible for your own decisions. I don’t agree with your running away or the non-Christian life you’re living. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’re my daughter. I will always love you.”
His forgiveness meant everything to me. Emily and Mama were in tears, both also surprised at Daddy’s reaction to my return.
We agreed that I would come back to visit again soon. He wanted to meet Dean. I would deal with that when the time came. There was no way I was going to bring my husband back here. My father would probably send the authorities to come collect him.
Sevin apparently lived back at the guesthouse again. One of the conditions of my coming to see my parents was that it be done in the middle of the day when he was working. It was a cowardly move, but I just couldn’t handle seeing him. Daddy had left the plant early to meet with me.
When I got in my car to leave the property, I looked around, overcome by an immense feeling of nostalgia mixed with sadness. Everything looked the same, yet so much had changed. For a moment, it felt like no time had passed.
I became overtaken by an overwhelming need to see Addy despite being ashamed to face her. What I’d done to her was no different than my actions toward Sevin.
My heart sank when I pulled up to her house. The shop looked abandoned. Tears filled my eyes out of fear of what I was going to find when I knocked on that door.
The person who answered the door was not who I expected.
“Can I help you?” a handsome blond boy asked.
“Hi. I’m Evangeline, an old friend of Addy’s. Is she here?”
He blinked a few times and seemed to be examining my face. “Wow. Um…she went to town to go food shopping.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m Luke. Sevin’s brother.”
“Yes. I live here.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I was going through some stuff. I left home. Sevin told me I could come to him if I ever needed him, and I took him up on the offer. Adelaide found out I was here and offered me her spare room. I take care of everything around here for her in exchange for room and board.”
“Are she and Sevin close?”
“Yes. He’s like a son to her. So am I.”
The reality of how much I’d missed was difficult to swallow. “What happened to the shop?”
“It shut down. Two of the guys left for better jobs, and Addy couldn’t keep up with the demand. She lost a lot of regulars. She still does odd fixes here and there, mostly word of mouth.”